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News Bulletin No 20

China-Kazakhstan cooperation continues
Russia, Kazakhstan to sign three-year war games deal

Kazakhstan starts building gas pipeline to China
Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan Hold Talks on Turkmen Gas Exports
Kazmunaigas interested in Oman's Kazakh ventures
Kazakhstan: Mixed messages from banking sector persist

Analytical paper on Kazakhstan’s foreign policy presented by Johns Hopkins University’s Central Asia – Caucasus Institute
Maltese composer, author win awards in Kazakhstan

Category: General
Posted by: admin


News Bulletin

Released by the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United States of America


1401 16 Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036

Tel.: (202)232-5488 Fax: (202)232-5845

E-mail: washington@kazakhembus.com

Web-site: www.kazakhembus.com

No 20 July 14, 2008




  • China-Kazakhstan cooperation continues
  • Russia, Kazakhstan to sign three-year war games deal




  • Kazakhstan starts building gas pipeline to China
  • Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan Hold Talks on Turkmen Gas Exports
  • Kazmunaigas interested in Oman's Kazakh ventures
  • Kazakhstan: Mixed messages from banking sector persist




  • Analytical paper on Kazakhstan’s foreign policy presented by Johns Hopkins University’s Central Asia – Caucasus Institute
  • Maltese composer, author win awards in Kazakhstan





China-Kazakhstan cooperation continues




Mr. Shakhrat Nuryshev, Counselor of Kazakhstan to China, was interviewed by China Talk at the China Internet Information Center (China.org.cn) on July 7.


He said that in 2008, China and Kazakhstan have frequently cooperated in economic and trade issues. Mr. Nuryshev has introduced efforts to encourage ties in politics, education and culture. The bilateral trade volume was US$13.9 billion in 2007, and will probably rise to US$15 billion this year, which will be far ahead of the goal set by the two countries, which was US$10 billion by 2010. According to the trade statistics, the volume of trade for the first four months of this year is estimated to have reached US$4.4 billion, which is up by 33% compared to the same period last year.


Mr. Nuryshev said that Kazakhstan greatly values the daily trade and energy cooperation between the two nations. The oil pipeline linking China and Kazakhstan is under construction, which will fulfill the goal of bringing oil directly to China. China also plans on investing in other energy-related fields like natural gas plants and water power stations. The two countries will also be cooperating on non-energy fields in the future, like China's funding of building projects in Kazakhstan.


The Eurasia Land Bridge that will go through Kazakhstan is now under construction. It is one of the highway construction projects that will link Western Europe with West China. The use of this bridge will make it easier to transport goods from China to Europe and also easier for equipment that will be used for the China-Kazakhstan projects to be brought from Europe to China.


To further bind economic ties, Mr. Nuryshev said the two sides are constructing facilities for importing and exporting goods, such as the Horgas International Cooperation Border Trade Center and the Railway Port in Mount Ala. Investment between China and Kazakhstan is booming. Many Chinese companies are looking for opportunities to invest in projects in Kazakhstan, and entrepreneurs from Kazakhstan, with their abundant resources and funds, are also expected to take part in the development of China.


He said that the Embassy of Kazakhstan has contributed to the promotion of mutual investment between the two nations. During the visit of Kazakhstan's Premier to China, the China-Kazakhstan Economic and Trade Senior Forum was held with the assistance of the Kazakh embassy. State-owned enterprises and representatives from the small and medium-sized enterprises attended, seeking a chance to invest in projects in Kazakhstan.


The entrepreneurs showed a great interest in the development of trade relations between China and Kazakhstan, whose geographic proximity is advantageous. Also, the trade policy of Kazakhstan gives preference to those investing in the cooperative projects, Mr. Nuryshey said. These factors result in a solid foundation for the development of bilateral trade.


Mr. Nuryshev said the role that the Embassy of Kazakhstan is playing in China is to help interested parties get to know each other and to promote investment and develop trade between the two countries.



Russia, Kazakhstan to sign three-year war games deal


Journal of Turkish Weekly    


Russia and Kazakhstan are to sign a three-year agreement on joint military drills in the near future, the Russian defense minister said on Friday.


"Within the next few weeks, I believe we will sign an agreement on the holding of joint exercises over the next three years," Anatoly Serdyukov, currently on a visit to Kazakhstan, told reporters.


Some 2,000 Russian and Kazakh paratroopers conducted a joint counterinsurgency tactical exercise on 11 July.


A Kazakh Defense Ministry spokesman said the 2008 Kazakh-Russian military cooperation programme includes a series of joint operational and combat training activities, Kazinform quotes RIA Novosti.



Kazakhstan starts building gas pipeline to China




Kazakhstan joined construction of a pan-Central Asia pipeline on Wednesday, a major project to link up Caspian Sea gas reserves with energy-hungry China.


The pipeline is the first significant independent gas link connecting the former Soviet region with eastern markets while bypassing Russia. Russian gas monopoly Gazprom is currently the main buyer of Central Asian gas.


Under the scorching sun of southern Kazakhstan, Kazakh and Chinese flags flapped in the wind as engineers assembled segments of the pipeline in a symbolic ceremony attended by senior energy officials.


"This project will be implemented in five stages with the final stage scheduled for completion by 2013," said Sauat Mynbayev, Kazakhstan's energy minister.


The ceremony was held on the open steppe 40 kilometres (25 miles) north of the commercial hub Almaty -- one of 3 sites in Kazakhstan where construction began simultaneously on Wednesday.


The Kazakh link is part of a route that links Turkmenistan's natural gas deposits with China via Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.


Uzbekistan also started construction of its part this month while Turkmenistan launched its segment last year.


Gas shipments will start in 2010 at 4.5 billion cubic metres (bcm) a year and will eventually reach 40 bcm a year. China will receive 30 bcm and Kazakhstan 10 bcm for its southern regions which face an energy deficit due to growing consumption.


China's CNPC, the leading operator of the project, has signed deals with state oil and gas firms of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan giving them 50 percent stakes in their respective parts of the pipeline.


It has yet to announce the project's cost. Mynbayev declined to give the figure for the Kazakh part on Wednesday.


Turkmenistan, sitting on Central Asia's largest gas reserves, will be the major supplier of the 7,000 kilometre (4,350 miles) pipeline.


Kazakhstan, which hosts 1,300 kilometres (800 miles) of the pipeline, plans to extend its part in the future, connecting it to its own gas fields near the Caspian.


Russia's Gazprom buys about 50 bcm of Turkmen gas annually for resale in Europe. It also imports about 11 bcm from Uzbekistan and 8 bcm from Kazakhstan.


To maintain its influence over Central Asian gas flows, Russia has signed agrrements with Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to build a new pipeline along the Caspian.


Gazprom has also vowed to pay European prices for Central Asian gas from 2009, but the exact figure has not been revealed.



Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan Hold Talks on Turkmen Gas Exports




Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan have been conducting talks on Turkmen gas exports. Turkmen Deputy Prime Minister Tacberdi Tagyyew, who is in charge of the country's oil and gas sector, briefed the president about the talks' results on July 12.


Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev came up with a proposal to buy Turkmenistan's gas at a recent meeting with Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow in Astana, where the latter was a guest of the capital's jubilee celebrations, the governmental press-service said.


At present, Russia and Iran that have 25-year-long gas agreements with Asgabat are only importers of its gas. This year gas import contract volumes total 50bn cu.m. and 8bn cu.m. respectively.


Kazakhstan is just a transit country pumping Turkmen gas to Russia. In 2007 Turkmenistan, Russia and Kazakhstan agreed to build a gas pipeline around the Caspian Sea and reconstruct existing gas transport facilities.


In March this year three Central Asian exporters of natural gas to Russia - Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan - announced their intention to switch to European gas prices in 2009.



Kazmunaigas interested in Oman's Kazakh ventures




Kazakhstan, which is eyeing Oman's stake in the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC), is also interested in the Arab Gulf state's upstream Kazakh assets, state oil and gas company KazMunaiGas said on Friday.


Industry sources told Reuters this month Oman was selling its stake in the CPC, a key oil pipeline for Kazakh crude exports, following delays to CPC's expansion. Oman has made no official comment on the matter.


On Friday, KazMunaiGas Chief Executive Serik Burkitbayev said Oman could also sell its stakes in Zhemchuzhina and Dunga oilfields.


"We have expressed our interest and if the government approves the acquisition we will evaluate its feasibility," Burkitbayev told reporters.


Oman owns 20 percent in the Zhemchuzhina (Pearls) field located on the Caspian shelf that holds an estimated 750 million barrels of oil. Shell has 55 percent in the project and KazMunaiGas owns 25 percent.


The three shareholders set up a joint venture to operate the field which is still in the exploration stage.


Oman also owns a 20 percent stake in the smaller onshore field Dunga located in Western Kazakhstan and operated by Denmark's Maersk.


Burkitbayev separately confirmed Kazakhstan's interest in Oman's seven-percent stake in CPC.


Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin said on Friday Russia could also make a bid for Oman's stake.


Strong cash flows from expensive oil and the laws that give it a preferential right to buy any oil assets sold in the country have enabled KazMunaiGas to carry out a string of acquisitions in recent years.


The company then transferred most onshore assets it had bought to its London-listed subsidiary KazMunaiGas Exploration and Production.



Kazakhstan: Mixed messages from banking sector persist




International investors clearly still have faith in the growth prospects for banks in Kazakhstan,